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Thread: The education system

  1. Top | #11
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    I think there should definitely be a vocational skills-based requirement as well as a financial responsibility requirement as well as an art requirement. Kids are sponges and every study ever conducted proves again and again and again that you can cram their heads full of almost anything--second languages in particular--during their formative years, so adding those in around middle school onward at least (art and languages much much earlier) would be a good idea.

    If, you know, we actually want to produce well-rounded and productive members of society and not just volunteer-army fodder like we do now.

  2. Top | #12
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Back in the day voc and financial skills were exclusively applied to those on non-college or technical skill tracks along with geography as a replacement for american and world history three years of science and maths beyond fractions.

  3. Top | #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Back in the day voc and financial skills were exclusively applied to those on non-college or technical skill tracks along with geography as a replacement for american and world history three years of science and maths beyond fractions.
    We’ve gotten progressively stupider as a nation since then, thanks primarily to Ronald Reagan and, ironically, the removal of the draft. When the world needs ditch diggers (and canon fodder), yank federal funding to public education and dumb those fuckers down.

  4. Top | #14
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    I don't agree. Reagan yes for killing mental health care, but, no for harming education. Education lowering is consequence of bringing in people who have no tradition for educating children by the state or church and as a response for including inner city kids in education increasing class size beyond practical limits.. Farm boys and girls were always more interested in the family than in education explains the small town drops in education.

    Education can work in large society, it can even work in multiethnic society, but doing so is demonstrably difficult and expensive requiring almost total buy in by national community.

    Aside. Sold Great Books back in the early sixties. Several fathers told me their kids didn't need any more education than they had attained, less than five years. So I'm sure it wasn't Reagan, much more likely related to Board of Education SC ruling in '54.

  5. Top | #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    I don't agree. Reagan yes for killing mental health care, but, no for harming education.
    A Brief History of GOP Attempts to Kill the Education Dept.

    Education can work in large society, it can even work in multiethnic society, but doing so is demonstrably difficult and expensive requiring almost total buy in by national community.
    Exactly. And Reagan--nearly single-handedly--destroyed that "buy in by national community."

    So I'm sure it wasn't Reagan, much more likely related to Board of Education SC ruling in '54.
    You mean Brown v. Board? How so?

    Reagan not only had control of the purse strings, he had the bully pulpit:

    From the moment the Department of Education was born, critics — Republicans, almost exclusively — have sought to dismantle it.

    The department, created under Jimmy Carter, began operating in May 1980. Ronald Reagan, then campaigning against Carter for the presidency, marked the occasion in blistering fashion. “At 11:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday,” he said, “President Jimmy Carter’s new bureaucratic boondoggle was born: the Department of Education.”

    Reagan went on to lay out what has become one of the Republicans’ primary arguments against the agency: “Welfare and education are two functions that should be primarily carried out at the state and local levels.”

    As president, Reagan said, he would seek to dismantle the department. His first education secretary, Terrel H. Bell, arrived with a mandate to do just that, and initially proposed recasting the agency as a foundation, according to Education Week. But Bell grew convinced of the department’s value. During his second term, Reagan replaced Bell with William J. Bennett, who had no such qualms about calling for the agency’s elimination.

    Reagan and Bennett never got their wish. But the president succeeded in clipping the department’s wings. From 1981, when the Reagan-backed Education Consolidation and Improvement Act curtailed the department’s reach, to 1988, the agency’s budget declined by 11 percent in real dollars, according to “Making Democracy Work,” a history of federal reorganization published by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. The department’s regulatory authority was limited as well.
    It is precisely because of this mentality--states and local over national--that we have such problems today, which was ironically underscored by Reagan in an arbeit macht frei bit of duplicitous theatrics:

    Thirty-five years ago, in April of 1983, Ronald Reagan appeared before the press to publicize a government report warning of “a rising tide of mediocrity” that had begun to erode America’s education system. Were such conditions imposed by an unfriendly foreign power, the authors declared, “we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

    Despite its grave tone, the report, titled “A Nation at Risk,” had little direct impact on policy. It did, however, establish a new way of talking about public education in the United States, a master narrative that has endured—and even subtly changed American education policy for the worse—over the past several decades.

    Across that stretch of time, politicians and policy makers have spoken often of the inadequacy of “America’s schools.” In fact, this trope is one of the few things that Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s regulation-averse secretary of education, has in common with her predecessors; she and previous education secretaries have regularly discussed the nation’s schools as a cohesive whole. This phrasing is useful shorthand for a national official, but it obscures the fact that the United States does not actually have a national education system. Many countries do. In France, for example, a centralized ministry of education governs schools directly. But in the U.S., all 50 states maintain authority over public education. And across those 50 states, roughly 13,000 districts shape much, possibly even most, of what happens in local schools.

    The abstraction of “America’s schools” may be convenient for rousing the collective conscience, but it is not particularly useful for the purpose of understanding (or improving) American education. Consider the issue of funding. On average, federal money accounts for less than 10 percent of education budgets across the country, and the rest of the financial responsibility falls to states and local schools. If local schools are unable to raise what they need, the state is usually well positioned to make up the difference, but states differ dramatically in their approaches. On average, states spend roughly $13,000 per student on public education—but looking at the average alone is misleading. Only about half of states spend anything close to that figure: A dozen spend 25 percent more than the national average, and 10 states spend 25 percent less. The result is significant disparities, and some striking incongruities. New York’s schools, for instance, spend roughly three times as much per student as Utah’s schools—a huge difference, even after accounting for New York’s higher cost of living.
    ...
    Though states often take similar approaches on curricula and teacher licensure, they tend to differ considerably in policy and practice. Things like early-childhood education, charter-school regulation, sex education, arts programs, teacher pay, and teacher evaluation are anything but uniform across the 50 states. To say that America’s schools are failing students on any of these issues would be a gross generalization—it would obscure all the national variety, like the fact that in Massachusetts, charter schools are tightly regulated, while in Arizona, they’re hardly regulated at all.
    ...
    Public schools in the United States differ so much from state to state and from district to district that it hardly makes sense to talk about “America’s schools.” In fact, a focus on large-scale national reform can actually do harm, insofar as it must emphasize generic one-size-fits-all solutions that ignore state- and local-level needs. The nationwide push to evaluate teachers using student standardized test scores is a classic example. Strongly backed by former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, so-called “value added” models of assessing teachers were adopted across the nation despite the concerns of education scholars. Worse, the models have undermined trust in the process of teacher evaluation and driven some successful educators out of the profession.

    This is not to say that taking the national perspective can’t be valuable. Troubling patterns do exist across the U.S., and discussions about them can play an important role in shaping both public understanding and education policy. Achievement gaps across race and class, for instance, are an important reminder of broader social and economic inequalities, and advocates have used evidence about those patterns to make the case for universal early-childhood education. Similarly, a national dialogue about the disproportionate punishment of black and brown children in schools has drawn attention to an issue that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. These kinds of broad conversations can generate both political will and policy responses.

    But more-abstract national-reform rhetoric has little to redeem it. In a system that affords significant authority to schools, districts, and states, it is ill suited for identifying the actual strengths and weaknesses of schools. And when used to drive policy, such rhetoric can generate support for policies that are at best distracting and at worst detrimental. One major example of this is No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the piece of Bush-era legislation that pushed schools to improve students’ standardized test scores each year. But because the federal government has limited power over schools, it offered little other than punishments, such as staff reassignments or school closures, to induce those gains. States and school districts focused their energies on avoiding such punishments, often ignoring critical issues like school culture and student engagement.

  6. Top | #16
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    Take the Reagan talk to Politics, I'm trying to discuss education as a social science and philosophy.

  7. Top | #17
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    Art is not required in FL beyond elementary school. Even then, it's only once a week for an hour.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Harvestdancer View Post
    I've been thinking about education quite a bit lately, and I think "Social Science" is the closest we have to a forum where this topic is appropriate.

    Of the many aspects of education I've been contemplating, I'll bring one of them here. The art requirement. It is common to both High School and College. It generally includes many different options, such as drawing, sculpting, singing, acting, and if the school is big enough, dance.

    What is the purpose of the art requirement? Is it to appreciate art, or to practice doing art? Is an art appreciation class what is wanted, or to try to get people to practice making art?

  8. Top | #18
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    MOST school districts have cut art and music. And for the record, those that take/study music do statically better in math. Just sayin'
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Harvestdancer View Post
    My college and my high school both had an art requirement. There was a list of classes one could choose from. Not all schools have it, yes. It isn't exactly the same thing as an elective.

    For instance, suppose your college required you to take one art class, and you took three because you enjoyed the first one. The other two are clearly just electives. Most schools require it as more of a production based requirement, not an appreciation based requirement - art as opposed to art history. I'm just trying to get a feel for what is best here.

    I have been pondering my own education for many years now, and while some of it made sense why I had to take a particular course, others didn't make as much sense. This is only one of the issues I've been pondering. I agree the arts are valuable, I'm just contemplating the distinction between production and appreciation. So far it seems that production is the preferred course.

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Harvestdancer View Post
    Take the Reagan talk to Politics, I'm trying to discuss education as a social science and philosophy.
    What do you think politics is but a subset of "social science"? And it was the philosophy of Reagan (and the right) that is at issue. They believe the world needs ditchdiggers--while at the same time understanding that education needs to be a protected privilege not a general right-- so the way to do that is to destroy it through fragmentation and disunity.

    Iow, they are deliberately creating and maintaining a purposefully ignorant sub-class of worker drones, essentially, but what they did not envision, of course, was the power of a nascient technology and how it would open the world--finally--to a truly global awareness. So we have a shit load of ignorant, largely gullible citizens that have no skills and whose intelligence has barely if ever been stimulated, aka, "ditchdiggers" only with no ditches to dig.

    And instead of correcting that generational mistake (as Bill Clinton attempted), now the philosophy has shifted to an even darker place due to the other neglect at the top; the priority of environmental sustainability.

    We created a generation of ditchdiggers when we needed scientists and now the ditchdiggers will turn into gravediggers for the rich.

  10. Top | #20
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    The idea that education can be discussed in a scientific/philosophical vacuum, insulated from politics, is laughable. I would go even further and suggest that it can't be insulated from economics. The education system is primarily a tool used by capital to prepare the majority of people for a life of basically endless work. It normalizes the relations that are most beneficial to that arrangement and marginalizes those that aren't. As far as art goes, this neatly explains OP's observation that art classes are primarily geared toward production and not appreciation. However, since art is not a growth industry, simultaneously we're seeing drastic cuts to creative programs across the board. The message is: if you want to go to school, you should spend most of your time becoming willing and able to work in the future, but if you must pursue an interest in art, please channel it appropriately into something that you will have to do for money.

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